Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 - All Of This Will Happen Again

Feb 13, 2010 (Updated Apr 21, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:acting, special features on the disc, quality of series production

Cons:story conflicts in places, wrapped up with more questions than answers, some characters disposition

The Bottom Line: The quality of the DVD and quantity of special features makes this worth having, even if the end of the series was unsatisfying in a number of ways.


Let me say first off that if you've never picked up a set of the Battlestar Galactica DVDs or watched the series when it aired on the Syfy Channel, this is not the place to start. Not only will you not appreciate the show, but you're missing out on most of the backstory of how the series arrived at this point.

If you are one of those who has been faithfully watching the series either on Syfy or on DVD as I did, you'll want to see it through to the end. This is the end, technically, although it seems that the series is going to be milked for all it can be.

After a prolonged down-time between the two halves of this final season due to a writer's strike, the series returned to the airwaves and picked up pretty much where it had left off. The colonials had found the planet they believed to be Earth, only to find it a barren wasteland devastated by its own nuclear war two thousand years before. The final five Cylons are revealed, and some of them might surprise you. It will also make you want to go back through the series up until now looking for clues to their identities. Really, don't bother. In listening to the special features on the disc, it makes it clear that the writers were flying by the seat of their pants with much of these aspects of the story, rather than having a plan in place before they set out.

This half-season is Cylon-heavy and if you're not all that interested in them, it will plod along a bit. There is an uneasy alliance between some of the Cylons and the humans, as the intention becomes trying to find a way for all of them to survive once their arrival on the planet known as Earth leads them to believe that living there isn't an option. Not all humans are comfortable with this alliance, nor are the Cylons, leading to flare-ups in the tension between the two as well as an outright mutiny against Admiral Adama's leadership.

Unlike other series (and the original 1978-1979 version of the show) this Battlestar Galactica was able to end the story in a cohesive way. In most circles, that would be an advantage. Unfortunately, it's one the writers seem not to have taken advantage of. The ending of the series left me flat and with more questions than answers. It also left me a bit troubled about the direction the story was going to take from here.

Originally, I had tried to pick up the series after it had begun airing, but couldn't. I only saw the stories well after they had aired on television originally. In the meantime, I had seen the pilot for Caprica. I knew there were differences in the story, but I kept thinking that it would be tied together sufficiently when I watched this final DVD set. It isn't. Where here it's established that the Cylons have been around for thousands of years, including the “skin jobs”, Caprica seems to put the age of the Cylons within Commander Adama's lifetime. It's such a glaring conflict in the plots of the two series, I had thought that the ending of Battlestar Galactica would somehow make it that they were tied together. It doesn't and leaves me wondering if Caprica is just going to ignore the history that has already been established by this series for the sake of the story it wants to tell.

**SPOILER SPACE – DISCUSSION OF FINALE**


The finale itself left me somewhat disappointed as I found it a bit unrealistic to establish Hera as a mitochondrial Eve. With everyone going off in various directions, that would seem to be an impossibility. I also thought the way everyone just fell into the same plans with no issues of difference of opinion or outright rebellion was a bit ridiculous. This and the conflicts with Caprica are what really left me feeling as if the series was trying to take an easy way out.

**END SPOILER**

There are some great moments this season, most of them involving the character of Anders and his role in what happens to the humans. The relationship he has with Kara Thrace is interesting, especially in light of opinions she has made clear in past seasons and the fact that she has returned from the dead, apparently.

Commander Adama is solid throughout the end of the series and another shining light to what's happening. He's conflicted, remorseful, second-guessing himself – almost always in private. To those he commands, they would really never expect the man viewers are given a glimpse into behind closed doors. They see him for the most part as a fearless, confident leader. Even as he feels a part of him being torn apart as his beloved ship deteriorates seemingly before his eyes, the depth of what he feels is apparent to the viewers but not to his subordinates.

The acting is stellar all the way through. Even having watched some of the best ensemble casts in science fiction on a variety of shows, this one could possibly be the best. The relationships that develop and the chemistry between various people is terrific. I love how emotions of things viewers thought were long forgotten are brought back to the surface and the actors pull it off as if those events happened just a short time ago.

The special effects are terrific. There are moments where the CGI animation is very apparent rather than blending, but for the most part is flows seamlessly into the reality of what's on the sets.

There were also things about this season that disappointed me. I can remember when I watched interviews and listened to commentary on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it just struck me that what a lot of the motivation was that is seemed to be teenage sci-fi fanboys getting to live out their fantasies. That was why they cast some of the actresses they did in certain roles. I got the same feeling near the end of this season. I felt like I was watching what a bunch of boys conceived over the table in the lunchroom, complete with the fantasy sex goddesses.

There is a tremendous number of special features on these four discs, which does make the set well worth picking up.  However, the order of the special features is off in the collection. If you are going into this blind, watch the entire series first before queuing up the special features. There is a special feature on the third disc that gives away some of the secrets to the final episode, something that will take away from the viewing of those episodes. The final three episodes are also available in a director's cut of sorts and I recommend bypassing what was shown on the network for this cut. It adds about twenty minutes to the running length, but it's worth it as there is more of a feeling of completeness to it. There are a number of these director's cuts on the disc and I thought all of them were better than what aired on the network.

I have to compliment them on the soundtrack of the series which was excellent all the way through although I didn't talk about it much. There was a moment in the finale where they used the music from the original series as a way of closing what is happening at that point. As a fan of the original series, it moved me because I immediately recognized it in addition to the moving nature of the scene that accompanied it. Those little details are what made this series as good as it was.

While I am somewhat unsatisfied with the ending, I still recommend people watch this final season. It wraps up most of the characters' stories, even if it's not always satisfying. For those of us who think that way, there are more questions to what's going on. My message to those who are working on Caprica is simple – we are watching you and if you ignore history, we're not going to be quiet about it.


Episode List & Special Features:

Disc 1

Sometimes a Great Notion
A Disquiet Follows My Soul
A Disquiet Follows My Soul: Unrated and Extended Version

Special Features:

• Commentary on A Disquiet Follows My Soul: Unrated and Extended Version with Executive Producer and Director Ronald D. Moore
• Podcast Commentaries on Sometimes a Great Notion and A Disquiet Follows My Soul
• Deleted Scenes from Sometimes a Great Notion
• Evolution of a Cue
• What the Frak is Going on With Battlestar Galactica?

Disc 2

The Oath
Blood on the Scales
No Exit
Deadlock

Special Features:

• Delted Scenes
• And They Have a Plan
• Ronald D. Moore Podcast Commentaries

Disc 3

Someone to Watch Over Me
Islanded in a Stream of Stars
Islanded in a Stream of Stars: Unrated and Extended version

Special Features:

• Deleted Scenes from Someone to Watch Over Me
• The Journey Ends: The Arrival
• David Eick's Video Blogs
• Audio Commentary on Islanded in a Stream of Stars: Unrated and Extended version with Edward James Olmos
• Ronald D. Moore's Poscast Commentaries

Disc 4

Daybreak: Part 1
Daybreak: Part 2
Daybreak: Part 3
Daybreak: Unrated and Extended Version

Special Features:

• Podcast commentaries on Daybreak Parts 1, 2, & 3 with Ronald D. Moore
• Audio Commentary on Daybreak: Unrated and Extended Version with Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, & Michael Rymer
• A Look Back
• Deleted Scenes


Related reviews:

Battlestar Galactica - The Mini-Series ~ Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 ~ Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0 ~ Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.5 ~ Battlestar Galactica - Season 3 ~ Battlestar Galactica: Razor ~ Battlestar Galactica: Caprica ~ Battlestar Galactica - Season 4.0 ~ Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

The complete one and only season of the original Battlestar Galactica on DVD: The Complete Epic Series on DVD

Two novels written by Richard Hatch: Battlestar Galactica: Armegeddon and Battlestar Galactica: Warhawk
 



© 2010 Patti Aliventi


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